Tuesday, April 28, 2009
And just a week ago, "viral" referred to that catchy Susan Boyle video that was making millions cry tears of joy. Now it looks like she was the doctor with a booster shot of soul that we would be needing to keep our hearts open through the harder times dead ahead.
In the whole world it’s not a good time for a flu epidemic. People are down, finanicially and emotionally. Healthcare and nutrition have already been suffering in many countries, as budgets are slashed and people lose their jobs.
It’s a tough time for tough choices, and people have got to make the right ones. I admire Barack Obama for example, for pushing for more regulation and funding for sustainable industries. So far that has meant renewable energy on top of financial system overhaul, but I think we continue to see how deep the problem really goes.
I heard that the US Republicans stripped from the stimulus bill last month the flu prevention funding which now has to be restored for the current emergency. We know what 8 years of Bush and Republican majority led to already, from wars to abandoning New Orleans to enabling the over-borrowing that crashed the fortunes of millions. Who you gonna trust now?
Sorry, trick question. Actually President Bush is to be thanked for stockpiling anti-viral medicine and developing a pandemic flu plan back in 2005. Which serves to remind that no side is all right or all wrong. We need to move forward together, appreciating the best that each has to offer.
Swine flu appears to have started in industrial pig farms in Vera Cruz, Mexico. These are places with thousands of pigs crammed in cages so small they can’t turn around, out of the sunlight which would act as a natural disinfectant, pumped full of antibiotics to try to keep them from getting too sick. Huge systems of fans blow air and fecal dust out of these animal prisons, down onto neighboring towns like La Gloria, where the stench attracts so many flies that the government sprayed to kill them.
In La Gloria, hundreds of people got sick suddenly as far back as February, most recovering though two infants died. People commuted to Mexico City from there, so now you know the rest of the story. Officials wanted us to believe they did everything possible, but really it took two months to alert that a deadly flu was spreading, and now it’s too late to stop it from rocketing around the world.
Fortunately the flu's been pretty mild so far, despite a number of deaths in Mexico. We’ve come a long way in 90 years since the 1918 Spanish flu that killed 50 million. 50 million! Today no one expects that many to die, because we’ve got anti-viral medicines stockpiled and people know to wash their hands. In the wealthier countries, anyway.
What we still don’t have is the laws and enforcement to stop the kinds of environmental and economic abuses that breed disasters in the world today. And you know who suffers the most: the poor, those who can't speak for themselves, the children, the old, the middle class. 99.9% of the world.
Hmanity will advance when the real crimes are outlawed.
The greed and manipulation that destroyed global capitalism in 2008 wasn’t just another forgivable mistake. Americans have been too tolerant for too long, hoping to get their slice of the pie. Most saw the meltdown coming for years, but the ones benefitting didn’t want the party to stop.
The abuses of nature that we call modern farming are creating breeding zones for diseases at unprecedented rates. The world has been lucky so far, recall that SARS and avian flu had kill rates of 50 percent or more. They didn’t spread like the swine flu which is mild in comparison. So far. The 1918 flu started as a mild flu in the spring, but became deadly by fall.
Hopefully our current health crisis will fizzle out, it's entirely possible. But the effects will be with us for years in economic and psychological damage, along with the other crises we’re simultaneously suffering.
The global recession isn’t going to be over anytime soon. People who want you to start shopping again like to say things are looking up, but they are lying to you and themselves.
The biggest man-made avoidable crisis of all, this global warming thing which is going to raise sea levels, spread disease and hunger, and exterminate species, will shape and limit our children's children's futures and beyond.
All for what, yesterday's jobs? Aren’t we ready to legislate into oblivion yet, these people who say we must not change the system because it might cost them too much? How much more can we pay? Let’s face it, a business that rapes the environment, bankrupts customers, and destroys our children's lives, isn’t a business at all. It’s a crime.
If a business can’t survive much less thrive within the rules of decency, including fairness to consumers, fiscal responsibility, and health to the environment, then it doesn’t deserve to exist. It’s us or them, let's face it now. Nature is incredibly successful and synergistic within strict parameters of health and sustainability, why can't these titans of industry and science be held to the same standards?
Because it'll cost them money, that's why. Things might turn over. It's a lot of change to deal with all at once.
Change comes either way. We should have made sure the changes would be more positive, long ago.
There are too many people in this world who will kill us all just so they can keep making a buck. Or a yen. Let's not forget the toxic products from China in recent years. Now there was a business model for you. Melamine as a cheap toxic protein substitute killed thousands of pets around the world, wasn't stopped, then reappeared the next year to kill infants drinking their formula. That's what one system allowed. And tragically, many saw those deaths of pets and children as just the cost of another emerging economy. Call them collateral damage, in the accounting practices of economic war.
China is a country that routinely sacrifices the individual for supposed collective good. Last year, deaths were under-reported in the patriotic rush to build Olympic stadiums, parents who lost children to earthquake-collapsed shoddy schools were bullied and bribed to keep quiet, and ethnic Mongolians and Tibetans were further persecuted and destroyed to spread Chinese rule.
But China wasn't alone in its system of crimes against humanity. The US led the current world economic collapse with predatory lending and phony investment deals rigged at the highest levels. Modern industrial practices which so abuse the planet were pioneered long ago by the United States, which became so full of fat bloated over-consumers pathologically scouting for cheaper deals that we've outsourced our own jobs and manufacturing to the cheapest bidders overseas with the fewest regulatory impediments to exploiting their workers and fouling their environments more than we would allow anymore here. Only there are no borders anymore, NIMBY isn't allowed. Global warming, economic ruin, and swine flu aren't stopping for anyone's door.
Now the system is broken, in so many ways. Is that apocalyptic? Sure, and the apocalypse was preventable, unnecessary, and allowed. Man-made practices of greed took deadly shortcuts to material wealth. Spiritual bankruptcy manifested fatally on so many levels.
Can we stop the downward spiral in time? Sure, I believe so. Humanity has such miraculous potential to work with nature, and nature has repeatedly shown itself to be fantastically resilient for the right owner.
Just don’t mistake the symptoms for causes, be shallow and wimpy no longer. I wish us all the best in economic and environmental recoveries, for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual evolution. Let's not be afraid to take the opportunities to do it all better and right this time. Apocalypse stops here, demand back our tomorrows.
Yes, the whole world is changing, more everyday. Don’t be afraid. Face yourself and others with love and care, do what has to be done. And see a little bit further. Make the changes that are happening be for the better, and we’ll get through this together. We just need to remind ourselves that so much more is possible than what a few greedy bastards have thus far invented for the rest of us to live on.
Bastards is a harsh word I know. But it expresses my anger at humanity's past mistakes, and can be further deconstructed as follows. A bastard is someone who doesn't know their own father. Psychologically speaking, the mother is the parent of belonging and sustenance, while the father is the parent of achievements and consequences.
Every one of us who couldn't or wouldn't admit to where our choices were taking us has been a bastard who faces now the most terrible of truths. Fatherless and futureless, we find our mother Earth is literally dying to introduce us to our real parentage. We are not nature's thinkers for nothing.
We were evolved for this pivotal time, to live or die by the planet that we too long each exploited for unsustainable personal gains. What we didn't do, we allowed. We each had our emotionally self-serving niches in the dysfunctional world order. We ran our homeworld into the ground, now we need to run it back up again.
So we do need to think about and expect massive change, but it doesn't have to end badly after all. The end of the old world, the beginning of the new. Apocalyptic for those who cling to the past, salvation for those who reach for tomorrow. I believe that humanity is up to the task of solving planetary crises, it just won't be business as usual.